[LBReport.com disclosure: Publisher Bill Pearl was part of a committee of LB activists that asked Councilmembers over a year ago to restore the public's ability to use the Council chamber's audiovisual equipment. This had been allowed under former Mayor Ernie Kell.]
(July 11, 2001) -- Mayor Beverly O'Neill's office has told Stop Taking Our Parks president Gigi "Fast Elk" Porter that under the incumbent Mayor's policy (allowed by the City Council), Ms. Porter will not be permitted to use the Council chamber's audiovisual equipment at a crucial July 17 Council hearing on whether to take 2.5 acres of Scherer Park land for a LB north division police station.
Shortly thereafter, City Attorney Robert Shannon sent a memo to the Mayor and City Council (provided to us by the City Attorney's office on request; full text posted below) that says his office has previously advised that "the decision [on use of audiovisual equipment] is within the discretion of the Mayor/City Council."
The memo concludes that for due process reasons in the hearing, since [under the Mayor's policy] the appellants can't use the audiovisual equipment, city staff won't be able to do so in the hearing either.
Councilmembers are now confronted with a threshold question: will they allow a member of the public to use audiovisual equipment that the public paid for?
The LB Municipal Code is silent on the public's use of the audioviusal equipment. Former Mayor Ernie Kell allowed it with Council approval. Incumbent Mayor Beverly O'Neill has refused it with Council approval,
However, Mayor O'Neill will not be presiding at the July 17 Council meeting. Vice Mayor Dan Baker (who's running for Mayor) is scheduled to chair the proceedings. Councilman Ray Grabinski (another announced Mayoral candidate) will (presumably) also be present.
The incumbent Mayor, without Council challenge or objection, has asserted the right to control the audiovisual equipment under the Mayor's general Muni Code authority to control the City Council chamber during meetings. She has let city staff and some developers use the equipment without Council objection.
City Attorney Shannon's memo text follows: